Sunday, December 18, 2011
A mission to stitch
I frequently receive requests from folks to adapt their favorite lighthouses to needlepoint, but I rarely get an inquiry about a California mission. A couple of months ago, a stitcher contacted me about Mission San Gabriel Arcangel. She had graduated from the high school located on the mission grounds, and to date had been unable to locate a canvas that would help her capture some happy memories. A few false starts and a couple of magazine deadlines later, I'm adding this ninth design to my Missions of California series!
Father Junipero Serra, known as the "Father of California Missions," commissioned two priests to explore the area near the San Gabriel River. They founded the fourth mission in the chain in 1771 in present-day Montebello. The area proved ideal for farming and raising of livestock. In the early 1800s, vineyards were introduced, with grape-growing and wine-making continuing to the present day.
One of the most distinctive features of Mission San Gabriel Arcangel is its bellwall, or campanario, which unlike other missions is located at the back of the church instead of the front. My stitching friend and I agreed that this would be the focal point of the design, highlighting the mission's six bells of varying sizes.
Do come back and check on my progress as I bring this canvas to life!